Slimy car dealer tactics -- These are the people worth saving?

There has recently been a lot of political complaining about closing car dealerships and lost jobs for car salespeople. It seems like everyone has forgotten that this is literally the slimiest business on the planet. Haven't they read Matilda?

I recently picked up a copy of one of those free "magazines" that has advertisements for dozens of car dealerships, and there's one tactic that many of them use that really, really infuriates me: listing prices well below the actual price. Here are a few examples:

  • Central Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge reports in its fine print that "*Prices reflect $2,000 down cash or trade."

  • Elite Auto Sales Inc. notes that "Price reflect $2,000 down cash or trade."

  • Action Auto Sales reminds readers that "All payments and prices reflect $1,500 cash down or trade equity."

  • Martin's Pre-Owned Auto Center's language is the most bizarre: "Price reflects down payments vary." Huh? So the prices that are listed are after a down payment but you won't say how much it is? So the $8,488 2003 Cadillac Deville is either $10,000 or $200,000, depending on what down payment you used in calculating the posted down payment price that you decided consumers didn't need to know about?

  • Barry's Annex tells us that "All buy for reflect $1,995 cash or trade."